Brighton energy co-op aims to raise £1m and use people power to fund renewable power

Posted On 01 May 2015 at 11:50 am

An energy co-op aims to raise £1 million from the community to fund ambitious projects that will make Brighton and Hove cleaner and greener while earning returns for all who invest.

Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCO) today opens its £1 million share offer. It works along the same lines as the “community shares” schemes used to fund the Bevy community pub and the purchase of the Exeter Street Hall in Brighton.

The £1 million will be used to fund up to ten renewable energy projects. They include the installation of a biomass boiler at the Montessori Place School in Hove. The school will also be retrofitted with energy-saving technology.

The cash will also fund solar panels for The Werks, a social enterprise, also in Hove.

BHESCO said: “When people put money into the co-operative, they become members and buy shares, giving each investor a 5 per cent return on their investment.

“For a minimum investment of £250, investors will have the opportunity to support an innovative business model that forms a blueprint for energy groups across the country.”

The energy co-op’s founder and director Kayla Ente said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Brighton and Hove. Not only will city residents be able to make money while doing good, they’ll be part of a community that acts to lower energy prices and lower their carbon footprint.

“In order to have the biggest impact, we need mass uptake from individuals and businesses across the city. The great thing is anyone can get involved.

“We’re used to thinking that doing good and making money are often opposed, especially when it comes to energy, but that doesn’t apply here.

“This is a win-win-win – the city gets more renewable energy and properties are made more efficient, cutting our carbon footprint and energy bills.

“Businesses and organisations we work with get cheaper energy and the people whose money makes it happen receive an interest rate that’s 10 times better than what they’re getting on their bank savings.”

Revenue and Customs has provided advanced assurance for EIS tax relief for investors bringing the annual return to over 7 per cent for qualifying individuals.

This means that people who invest £500 will be able to claim £150 of that straight back in their next tax return.

BHESCO added: “If the interest rate continues into subsequent tax years, investors will have doubled their money within 11 years.

“Moreover, they will become part of a movement that helped to make the city cleaner and greener, leaving a lasting positive impact on the local community.”

The energy co-op said that it would reinvest any profits in more community-owned energy projects and said that it was working with Brighton and Hove City Council to install solar for schools.

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Sounds like a reasonable investment offering 5% ROI or about 7% including tax relief.

    But remember that investors might well be better off investing in solar PV on their own roofs and they’d also get the benefit of free electricity and regular tax-free, index-linked income from the FIT payments.

    And if you can’t afford to buy the solar PV systems yourself, many companies will install it for free and give you the electricity produced for free as well.

    But if you are a mansion owning NIMBY who doesn’t like having their roofs covered in panels, or have already got solar PV installed and have spare capital to invest, then this could well be a nice little earner.

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